I'll Only Shop at Aldi in These Situations

As a mom with a family to feed, I’m no stranger to doing my fair share of grocery shopping. In fact, other than housing, food is probably our biggest financial outlay every month.

My weekly food shopping rotation usually includes a visit to Costco as well as a stop or two at my local ShopRite supermarket. Since ShopRite is on my way home from taking my kids to school, I often pop in to replenish items as we run out, or to purchase items that Costco doesn’t carry.

Aldi, meanwhile, is a store in my area that offers the benefit of low prices. The problem with Aldi is twofold, though.

First, it doesn’t have the biggest selection. And more so than that, its limited inventory is also inconsistent. There have been times when I’ve stopped at Aldi and the store didn’t even have sandwich bread. I mean, you can’t get more basic than that.

It’s for these reasons that Aldi does not have a place on my usual shopping list. In fact, I’ll really only shop at Aldi if these situations apply.

The Costco I usually shop at isn’t anywhere close to Aldi. But there’s a second Costco I have access to that I sometimes choose to visit because it has a slightly different selection than my regular one. And that Costco happens to be adjacent to an Aldi.

As such, I’m willing to run into Aldi for a few items if it won’t take up a lot of my time. But if I’m visiting the Costco that isn’t Aldi-adjacent, I’ll rarely specifically drive over to Aldi separately.

2. I have a light week

Most weeks, I barely have enough time to sleep, let alone make extra trips to the grocery store. But every so often, I will find myself with a lighter week.

During those times, I like to make a point to visit the grocery stores I don’t typically visit. These include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods (I know it costs a fortune but there’s one brand of ice cream only available there that I absolutely love), and Aldi (which helps offset my $9 ice cream pints at Whole Foods).

But otherwise, I’m not going to take time out of a busy week to make a trip to Aldi. Doing so might save me, say, $20 on groceries, which is nice, of course. But that trip might cost me an hour of work.

Thankfully, I make considerably more than $20 an hour. So it’s only really worth it to make a separate trip to Aldi if it won’t take away from my ability to earn money.

3. I’m buying more produce than usual

In my experience, the best savings at Aldi come in the form of low-cost produce. I usually pay a pretty low price for produce because I buy it at Costco in bulk. But I have found that Aldi’s prices actually beat Costco’s for most fruit and vegetables.

As such, if there’s a week when I need a lot of produce, whether it’s for the recipes I’m trying or because I’m hosting people for an event and want to put out more fruit than my family normally eats, I may pop over to Aldi for the savings. But if it’s just my regular weekly haul, it doesn’t pay to make that separate trip.

Should you shop at Aldi regularly?

Shopping at Aldi has the potential to save you money. But you also need to think about what a visit to Aldi is costing you. If it’s time, and you have time to spare, then why not add it to your weekly grocery shopping rotation?

But if you only have time to visit one supermarket per week, if you choose Aldi, you run the risk of not being able to purchase all of the items you need. At that point, you might then need to order your missing items for delivery and run up a higher credit card tab for that service.

I will also say that while I have multiple friends who shop at Aldi regularly, it’s definitely not the only supermarket they shop at. But their schedules aren’t as jam-packed as mine. And they may not be as busy as yours, either.

Remember, we all pay for conveniences in life, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that. So if you decide not to shop at Aldi and forgo the savings it might offer, consider that your own form of paying for the convenience of being able to shop once for groceries each week and get everything you need at a more consistent supermarket.

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